Not so precious

So, last night I finished watching the movie with the oddest title of 2009, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”  Yuck.  I really thought about stopping after the first 10-15 minutes.  I’ve watched plenty of disturbing movies in my day that I’ve enjoyed, but I found this disturbing and definitely not enjoyable.  I simply with I had my hour and 45 minutes back.  I’m sure people do have lives that horrible, but it just really seemed piled on for melodramatic effect.  Not to mention, the “good” parts, like Precious’ teacher were likewise impossibly good.  Her alternative classroom seemed more like a TV sitcom than a movie.   And, the whole thing was way over-directed.  I’m really not a big fan of the “look at what an impressive director I am” style.

Though we don’t always agree, I’m pretty sure I most reliably agree with David Edelstein, formerly of Slate and currently of New York magazine (and NPR).  He’s not a fan.  My favorite review, however, comes from Edelstein’s replacement at Slate, Dana Stevens.  Here’s the conclusion:

But like the outlandish badness of the mother character, the overdetermined tawdriness of these scenes does the movie and its heroine a disservice. Daniels and his screenwriter, Geoffrey Fletcher, are so eager to wring uplift from Precious’ story that they’re willing to manipulate us to get it. Daniels and Fletcher no doubt intended for their film to lend a voice to the kind of protagonist too often excluded from American movie screens: a poor, black, overweight single mother from the inner city. But in offering up their heroine’s misery for the audience’s delectation, they’ve created something uncomfortably close to poverty porn.

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